Everyone knows that follow-up is part of the sales process, fine and good. But how do you pull it off in a way that helps to seal the deal - without making you feel like a bother?
That's a tricky question for just about any sales agent, but for Medicare insurance agents, it can feel even more difficult because you’re often working with seniors on tight budgets. They need to make the right decision within a limited timeframe and the financial stakes are high.
So, how do you facilitate timely decision making, without making customers feel pressured? Here are eight strategies.
1. Keep it personal. Whether you’re emailing, mailing or calling, address your clients by their name. Review your notes from last year and recall details about them before your visit. Come to every appointment prepared with personalized suggestions that are relevant for the client’s specific needs. You need to maximize the personal touch and minimize the cookie cutter.
2. Ask for communication preferences up front. When you first meet, find out how your customers prefer to be contacted. Some people love texts; others hate them. Same goes for email, phone, and mail. The fact that you ask for and respect their preferences means you're listening; you're on their side. Record their preferences in your CRM system so you remember next year.
3. Establish expectation early. When you first meet with customers, establish a timeline. This is good for them and for you. You don’t want all of your clients to wait until the last week of AEP to make their decision. So, set up a decision-making schedule. For example, on 10/15, you meet to understand their needs. By 10/20 you will provide recommendations for three options to consider. On 10/25, you will schedule a call to answer any questions. By 11/1, you will meet to finalize the decision. Present the timeline to your customers and ask if it seems reasonable. Get their buy in.
4. Get every step calendared. When you set up the schedule, make it official. Enter the dates into your calendar and ask your customer to do the same. This is a perfect time to put your CRM system to work for you.
5. Remind them of every step the day before it happens. The day each scheduled milestone, send a note (via text or email depending on their noted preference) to remind customers of what’s coming. For example, “Hi John – just a quick note that I’ll be calling you at 1 p.m. tomorrow to review your options and answer any questions you have. Talk to you soon!” This improves the odds of your customers following through on their commitments.
6. State next steps. At the conclusion of every interaction, let customers know when you'll be back in touch and why. This continues to set the expectation and it will keep you both on track.
7. Always provide value. Be sure to come to every appointment with a genuinely useful tidbit - a piece of relevant information to share with them. This builds the relationship by delivering value. Your advice can be about Medicare, but it can also be about something else that matters to the client – a tip on gardening or an introduction to someone else with a shared interest, for example.
8. Give them an out. It seems counterintuitive but giving people the option to stop hearing from you or to investigate another option is a powerful gesture of respect. It makes your prospects feel like they are in charge of the relationship, which is empowering. You look confident and they feel like they’re in the driver’s seat. This may be especially powerful if they are stalling on the decision.
When you need an extra hand, let us know. At Western Asset Protection, we have over 30 years of Medicare Insurance experience, with all the resources to support your success.